Iran twin quake toll rises to 306

The toll in Saturday's strong twin quakes in northwest Iran has risen to 306, Fars news agency cited the Iranian health minister as saying Monday.

Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi told Iran's Majlis (parliament) Monday that the number of fatalities in the quake-stricken regions has risen to 306, reported Xinhua.

Dastjerdi said that all others who were buried under the debris were rescued.

On Sunday, Iran's ISNA news agency reported that some 5,000 people were injured.
The quakes, which jolted East Azerbaijan province, damaged some 110 villages, Deputy Interior Minister Hassan Qaddami told Fars Sunday.

At least 12 villages had been levelled, while 60 were damaged 50 percent to 80 percent in Ahar region in the province, Fars said.

Two days of mourning was announced in East Azerbaijan Sunday, according to ISNA.
A 6.2-magnitude temblor, with a depth of 10 km, hit Ahar at 4.53 p.m. Saturday, while another 6-magnitude earthquake, also with a depth of 10 km, struck nearby Varzaqan at 5.04 p.m., according to Iranian Seismological Center.

On Dec 26, 2003, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit the southern region of Bam. Over 30,000 died and 50,000 were injured, and 70 percent of the residential buildings in the region were reduced to debris.

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